SPECIAL SERIES : The Vices Issue
Bleed the Color of Dodgers Blue Hate
San Francisco Giants fans believe being a Dodgers fan is a vice
October 29, 2006 6:36 PM
The announcer declares the next up to bat. The last name spurs on a myriad of scattered boos, which gather into an over arching holler of discontent. Once the crowd settles down with their peanuts and nachos, a curly-haired woman stands up from the lower deck and begins screaming with anger, “ We didn’t even like you when you were on the Giants, Kent!” Dodger fans nearby pay no attention. Kent hits a single, and the blue fans pop up, giving high fives to total strangers with grunts and figurative chest butts. An older Giants fan sitting a row lower snickers to his wife about how there are too many Dodgers fans these days.
In San Francisco, it is a vice to be a Dodger fan. Ask any body from either side -- its validated by slanderous remarks of pure un-sportsman-like hate. The competitive loathing stems back to New York when the Giants and Dodgers began their rivalry in the Polo Grounds stadium. It continued when they both jumped over to the West Coast. From pennant running, to this year’s knock out of the race for the National League West division, if you are a Dodgers fan, you are despised in orange and black territory.
On a warm game day, Cory Adams will wear his orange T-shirt with the Giants logo printed across the chest, black Dickies pants, boxers and a black beanie with the Giants the SF logo facing front. On a cold game day he wears practically the same clothes, but he adds a grey Giants embroidered sweatshirt and orange puffy vest.
“Yeah, Man, I bleed orange and black,” Adams says in a hyper-masculine serious tone. “I fucking hate the Dodgers! I’ve been a Giants fan all of my life, and since I have been a kid, there has been a rivalry.”
Like many die-hard Giants fans, when the topic of baseball comes up, a rapid stream of players last names, RBI stats and how many bases were occupied pour out of their mouths like foreign jargon similar to the tugging of the ear, whipping of the brow and tapping on the chest sign language the coach gives to the batter. But the language that is clear is the hatred when the topic of the Dodgers makes it’s way to the plate.
“Dodger fans and the Dodgers team are air-headed celebrity types who know nothing about baseball and are there only to be seen,” says Patrick J. Gallagher, President of San Francisco Giants Enterprises in an email interview describing the assigned stereotypes to the team. “Dodgers are Hollywood, plastic, fake, shallow. [While] Giants are loyal, tough, and hardworking.”
The list of the possible reasons Giants fans want to punch Dodgers fans in the face are limitless. However, a few universal reasons seem to flare up in every fan’s passionate soul long after the bottom of the ninth—the question of who has the best home turf.
When the Giants battled the Dodgers in New York, it was a feud of the upper class New York Giants against the rough and tumble Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodger fans were mostly lower-income immigrants who felt the Giants fans from Manhattan were flaunting their privilege. Actually the name Dodgers was a derogatory term that the Manhattanites gave to Brooklynites because they thought they were trolley dodgers, assuming they were unable to pay the fare.
Not to mention the low blow delivered by Bobby Thomson, that still puts red in a seasoned Dodger’s face.
According to Gallagher and any Giants fan it was one of the most prolific baseball moments. In 1951 when the Giants came from 15 games back in mid-August to knock the front-running Dodgers out of first place in the last game of the season at the Polo Grounds. Thomson's "shot heard round the world" walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Giants the National League Pennant.
In 1957, the New York Giants decided to move the franchise across the country, due to a deteriorating Polo Grounds stadium. But the rivalry over grounds didn’t change a bit when they moved to San Francisco. Instead of a duel over the Hudson River, it was a battle over good ol’Cali.
“They [Dodgers] play in a homogenized, sterile, good weather, stadium, where fans arrive in the 3rd inning…and leave in the 7th,"to beat the traffic," says Gallagher. “Verses having the guts, fortitude and determination to follow the Giants at cold-windy Candlestick Park...not for wimps. AT&T Park now gives us a better ballpark than the Dodgers, though.”
Aside from the Dodger bashing, because they’re SoCal “shallow,” further rivalry embroils when SoCal mixes with NorCal, either up in San Francisco or in L.A.—sometimes in the most violent of ways.
In 1938, a Dodger’s fan named Robert Joyce shot and killed two patrons at a bar when they wouldn’t partake in his smack talking about the Giants. In September of 2003, a Giants fan was shot and killed in the Dodgers stadium parking lot by a Dodger’s fan after the game. And don’t forget the regretful incident of 1965 when Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro said something that infuriated Giants pitcher Juan Marichal to the point that he turned and hit Roseboro with his bat.
Even though these illustrate the darker side of the rivalry, lighter moments persist to keep fans and casual enthusiasts hooked. Tommy Lasorda blowing kisses to the fans while walking through the tunnel at Candlestick, while thousands of Giants fans boo. Jeff Kent talking trash about the Giants while in the freshly pressed Dodgers uniform. Jackie Robinson retiring from the Dodgers instead of wearing Giants' colors.
Like Robinson, Carlo Delgatillo is a Dodgers fan, but when he moved up North, he still wanted to watch baseball even though the telecast didn’t show Dodgers games. He became a die-hard Oakland Athletics fan, because it was impossible for him to be a Giant’s fan.
Last season Delgatillo went all out and wore the Dodger blue wig with a Dodger helmet. He also had a plastic mega phone, so his rants and raves were even louder bouncing throughout AT&T Park.
“I despise the Giants,” Delgatillo says, who lives in San Francisco, but is from Los Angeles. “The whole vibe at the Giants stadium whenever they are playing the Dodger’s. There is this electricity and passion that you cannot get anywhere else.”
It seems like there is always that one Dodgers fan in San Francisco who is friends with a group of Giant fans and they get teased and tormented about bleeding Dodger blue and eating Dodger Dogs.
“They keep on saying you're rooting for the wrong team,” says Delgatillo, referring to his friends from Northern California. “They take off my hat. It’s hard to say stuff back because I am in San Francisco. I just deal with it until the Dodgers win.”
“Dodgers have had more success (some at the expense of the Giants) over the West Coast years--or at least it seems like it,” says Gallagher.” “Even during a disappointing season, if the Giants can at least beat the Dodgers--all is not lost. The Giants have yet to win a World Championship in SF, [but the] Dodgers have won five World Series since being in L.A.—ouch!”
Although Dodgers fans are loathed and looked down upon in San Francisco, an underlying respect is bestowed for the loyalty and love of the game.
“The Dodgers are just like Giants fans,” says Adams. “But they are always wrong.”
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University